Passion and purpose – what Tom Brady’s record-breaking career tells us about motivation

According to the talent scouts, Tom Brady was far from spectacular.  He didn’t have any of the things that marked him out as in an up and coming sports star which meant he was overlooked when it came to selection time. 

And yet, on Sunday, Brady won his 7th Superbowl at the age of 43 with a team that was bottom of the league last season.  To date, he has started a record 10 superbowls in his 18 year career.  With an average career of 3 years in the sport, Brady defies the odds and shows no signs of retiring just yet. 

One of the key themes throughout his career has been the lack of recognition for his talent.  Before he began his time with the New England Patriots, he played for Michigan college team.  In his sophomore year, a new quarterback joined the team and the coach was unsure which of them to play.  He kept switching them to keep them both in the game.  Many times, the coach had to bring on Brady to save the game and he did it. He came on to the field and brought them back from the brink for a win. This happened so many times, they called him ‘the comeback kid’.

Despite this, when it came to the draft, he wasn’t selected until the 6th round. Number 199 out of just over 200 places, making him the 7th quarterback taken. His nerves were on edge as his time was running out but he was finally signed and so began his professional career in American football.  Brady is now considered best NFL draft pick of all time.

The report on him ahead of the 2000 draft was unimpressive. It included:

  • Poor build
  • Skinny
  • Lacks great physical stature and strength
  • Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush
  • Does not roll a really tight spiral
  • System type player who can get exposed if forced to ad-lib
  • Gets knocked down easily

Brady was hugely under-estimated and struggled to gain recognition but he never lost his self-belief.

Throughout his time with the Patriots, he demonstrated the talent and skill which has made him the sport star he is today. Still, his talent was played down and often attributed to the coach. In his latest Superbowl achievement, he has finally proven that he is the magic ingredient and getting the credit he deserves.

According to his Dad, when they carried out that assessment: “they missed the most important thing: heart.  They didn’t understand what drives somebody.” It isn’t something that can be measured. And it cannot be defeated either.

Others have commented on his backbone and resilience: “All the intangibles that a quarterback is supposed to have? They were overlooked. Because with him, it was burning on the inside”.

What can we learn about leadership from the greatest quarterback of all time?

  1. Never let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do – it isn’t for someone else to decide what you are capable of, it is up to you.  If you are willing to work hard, take on board the feedback and improve, you can achieve your goals.

  2. Resilience is about understanding your values and purpose and staying true to them – it doesn’t matter what people say or think. To succeed, you need to keep your goal close to your heart and keep going.

  3. Follow your passion – if do something you love, you will bring maximum energy which will drive you to work hard, master your discipline and achieve success.

Have you been inspired by Tom Brady’s success? What is it about him that stands out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image by Alexandr Nebesyuk from Pixabay 

In the most important election of our lifetime, who will be first past the post?

As we are approaching election day in the UK, I am one of many people still undecided about who to vote for.  My previously staunch Labour family are seriously considering changing their colours and people up and down the country are wondering who best to lead what have the potential to be disastrous Brexit negotiations.

It’s going to be a tough job so you have to wonder who would want it!

In terms of contenders, it’s really a two horse race thanks to our first past the post-election system which keeps the other parties in their place.  Whilst I would like things to be more fair, the fact is that many voters are thinking Corbyn or May and if you’re not sure, then it’s a pretty tough choice.

Corbyn carried the can in many ways for the remain campaign defeat as he was accused of failing to provide a strong voice for those who wanted the UK to stay in the European Union.  Media articles suggested that he actually wanted to leave himself and who doesn’t accept that the union needs reform but the British people decided to go for broke so if he is elected, he’ll have to navigate some tricky negotiations to try and get a decent deal for Britain.

Theresa May’s position was that we are better ‘in’ but when challenged on her ability to lead the nation towards independence given her personal views, she answered “we gave people the choice and the British people decided to leave. Now we have to deliver on that choice and respect the will of the people”.  The role of Prime Minister now is to deliver what people want.

This chimes with a previous blog post which considered the role of elected representatives and whether once elected they should do what they think is best or what the electorate want.  Maybe it is better that these negotiations are led by someone who can deliver the will of the 52% leave voters but protect the concerns of the 48% who voted to remain.

It’s a difficult choice in this election and I have a feeling that the Prime Minister will get the mandate that she is looking for from the British people although if the polls are anything to go by, not with the majority she hoped for.

So why does she seem like such a strong candidate?  Apart from the systemic issue previously highlighted, Corbyn divides his own party so how can he unite a nation at a particularly turbulent time?

My husband came home from work recently and asked me ‘why don’t people like Corbyn?’.  For me, it’s because he doesn’t look ready to do the job and whilst I know it shouldn’t be about that, I wouldn’t hire someone who turns up for a job interview not looking smart so I’m not keen to have a Prime Minister who can’t dress for the occasion.  What would he consider appropriate for an important diplomatic meeting?  I can’t be certain and that concerns me.

Watching interviews with Andrew Marr and Jeremy Paxman, I was pleased to see he did dig a suit out of the wardrobe.  He also seemed considered in his responses and I found that he had good points to make and I wanted to listen to him.  He might have some positions which are controversial but I like his policies on the living wage, zero hours contracts and public services and he is clearly a socialist to the core.

May on the other hand was ‘on message’ with the Conservative vision for the future which she says will be secure and have a strong economy.  Will the public services be safe? Who knows. Her focus, she says, is on getting a good deal in the Brexit negotiations and strengthening the economy overall.

She did have a very clear call to action for all those people able to have their say in this election and that was for everyone to go out and vote regardless of their colours.  As the Prime Minister herself said “this is the most important election of our lifetime” so make sure you turn out on Thursday and make your voice heard.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑